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J Biol Chem. 2009 Jul 31;284(31):20885-96. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.016584. Epub 2009 May 18.

Farnesylation of pex19p is required for its structural integrity and function in peroxisome biogenesis.

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Department for Systems Biochemistry, Institute for Physiological Chemistry, University of Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44780 Bochum.


The conserved CaaX box peroxin Pex19p is known to be modified by farnesylation. The possible involvement of this lipid modification in peroxisome biogenesis, the degree to which Pex19p is farnesylated, and its molecular function are unknown or controversial. We resolve these issues by first showing that the complete pool of Pex19p is processed by farnesyltransferase in vivo and that this modification is independent of peroxisome induction or the Pex19p membrane anchor Pex3p. Furthermore, genomic mutations of PEX19 prove that farnesylation is essential for proper matrix protein import into peroxisomes, which is supposed to be caused indirectly by a defect in peroxisomal membrane protein (PMP) targeting or stability. This assumption is corroborated by the observation that mutants defective in Pex19p farnesylation are characterized by a significantly reduced steady-state concentration of prominent PMPs (Pex11p, Ant1p) but also of essential components of the peroxisomal import machinery, especially the RING peroxins, which were almost depleted from the importomer. In vivo and in vitro, PMP recognition is only efficient when Pex19p is farnesylated with affinities differing by a factor of 10 between the non-modified and wild-type forms of Pex19p. Farnesylation is likely to induce a conformational change in Pex19p. Thus, isoprenylation of Pex19p contributes to substrate membrane protein recognition for the topogenesis of PMPs, and our results highlight the importance of lipid modifications in protein-protein interactions.

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